Something old, something new at Lackendarra House in Waterford

At Lackendarra House, modern architectural features have been built into a 19th century original, says Trish Dromey

Kinsalebeg, Waterford - € 495,000

Size: 204 sq m (2,200 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3

AS a new house built inside the shell of an old one, with a wealth of period-style features, Lackendarra House, at Kinsalebeg, in West Waterford, combines architectural elements from two different eras.

It also has an acre of colourful gardens, filled with exotic flowers and tropical plants, including banana trees.

Fitted with energy-efficient solar panels and finished with shuttered, sash windows and ceiling cornicing, the 2,200 sq ft property has beginnings dating to the mid-17th century.

The first record of Lackendarra House that the current owner found, showed that it was once part of large estate taken from the Catholic McNichols family by the crown, in 1644, and given to Protestant Fitzgeralds, who had it until 1899.

The original, much-larger house was replaced by this smaller one, probably in the 19th century. In 2006, when the owner first came upon it, Lackendarra House had been derelict for several years.

A botanist who wanted a period property and an opportunity to grow tropical plants in the sunny south-east, he knew it needed renovation.“It was only when we took off the roof that we realised that all the timberwork inside was rotten.”

The only option was to strip the interior, leaving only the old stone walls, which were two-feet thick. The solution involved the construction of a timber-framed structure fitted inside the walls, and the installation of steel and concrete beams.

The reconstruction work was carried out in stages, over a number of years. In designing the interior, the owner replicated the original layout. He enlisted the aid of a neighbour, who had grown up in the house.

Most of the period-style features, such as the coving, were added later and period pieces were sourced, like furniture and fireplaces, over time.

Religious pictures were still hanging on the walls of the derelict house, when he first found it. “There were four of them, including a Sacred Heart, which we had, reframed and hung in the dining room,” he says.

The final stages of upgrading were the construction of a kitchen extension, in 2010, and a flat-roofed sunroom, in 2013.

A five-bedroom property with accommodation on three floors, Lackendarra House now has some features rarely found in period houses. In addition to double-glazed, sash timber windows, the house has triple-glazed ones in the sunroom, four stoves, and 40 solar-panel tubes.

The house also has oil-fired central heating.

Inside the fanlit front doorway is a high-ceilinged hallway with coving, ceiling mouldings, and an archway with decorative detail.

The sitting room stretches from front to rear and an archway connects it to a sunroom.

The sitting room has tiled flooring, coving, shuttered, sash windows and a hand-carved oak fireplace from an old country house (the fireplace was bought at an auction in Kilkenny.)

The décor mixes old and new. Having wired the room for Wi-Fi and surround sound, the owner uses a projector to watch movies on the wall above the fireplace.

The sunroom beyond it is ultra-modern, with some exposed stonework, a large roof window, recessed lighting, and a stove. It looks out onto the decking and a pond and has garden views on three sides.

“You feel as if you are surrounded by plants — it’s almost like sitting in the garden. It’s so well-insulated that you can sit there in January without heating,” says the owner.

Other ground-floor rooms include a utility area, a guest WC, and a purple-walled dining room with ceiling coving, a stove, and the reframed religious pictures. To the rear is a spacious kitchen. It has cream units with timber worktops, a large pine dresser, and a small island unit made with recycled oak, and a large, red Rayburn.

The first-floor has a bathroom and three bedrooms — the largest one has oak flooring, recessed lighting, and an art nouveau fireplace, dating from 1935, with a stove. The second-floor also has a bathroom, as well as two large, carpeted bedrooms.

The owner has spent 11 years working on the gardens, adding a large goldfish pond, and an even larger wildlife pond, and has planted a mix of cottage garden flowers and tropical plants and trees. S

piky, yellow ligulara, tall, red-and-blue echium, from the Canary islands, and giant-leaved Tetrapanax Rex are among the exotic plants which bring drama and colour.

There are also grape vines, orange trees, peaches in a polytunnel, and an orchard, where some old varieties of Irish apples are being rescued.

The owner, who is planning a move to sunnier climes, in Spain, says that on the south-east cost it’s possible to grow plants that wont grow anywhere else in Ireland.

He’s set up a site on Instagram, called Lackendarra House, showing the exotic flowers and the bluebell-filled woodlands.

Auctioneer, Denise Radley, describes the gardens as amazing.

“By the pond, there’s a raised decking area, with a swinging seat, where you almost feel as if you were on a tropical island.”

Pricing this highly individual house at €495,000, she says this is a family home of immense character and history, which is ten kilometres from Youghal and Ardmore and a short drive from Whiting Bay and the exotic-sounding Caliso Bay.

VERDICT: Historical and tropical

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